The transformative power of meditation offers a wide range of health benefits and is a reflective exercise used to obtain a heightened sense of awareness. Meditation is often utilized for relaxation or therapeutic purposes and refers to various techniques used to achieve a state of consciousness. Julie Gagnon-Erickson the owner and Founder of Endurance Pilates and Yoga claims that despite its extensive popularity, many individuals remain unaware of the psychological advantages. The practice of mindfulness allows those who practice to systematically control external factors while developing a sense of self-awareness. She takes the time to provide a brief overview of the benefits of daily meditation.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is both a physical and mental exercise where an individual practices mindfulness to obtain a clear mental state. In the yoga tradition, a physical posture (asana) allows individuals to maintain a certain level of stillness that is required for contemplative thought post movement practice. Meditation is the control of a practitioner’s reactions to the outside world. By relaxing the muscles and performing deep breaths, individuals are able to enter a deep state of self-awareness and relaxation.
Reduced Stress & Anxiety
Meditation enhances the presence of constructive thoughts, helping to mitigate stress and anxiety. With the demands of modern life, daily challenges often trigger a stress response known as ‘fight or flight’, a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event. According to Julie Gagnon-Erickson, practicing mindfulness leads to a state of calmness where one’s breathing, pulse rate, and blood pressure is significantly reduced. Ultimately, meditating ten minutes can help one control negative thought patterns in everyday life, leading to a greater capacity for relaxation and a stronger sense of self.
Sharper Memory & Improved Cognitive Processes
Meditation can also improve cognitive health and is backed by various scientific studies. A report generated by Osnabruck University in Germany carried out a randomized controlled study to investigate the effects of mindfulness meditation on cognitive functions. It was found that meditating daily had a profound impact on one’s concentration and working memory and participants performed significantly higher on executive function tests. Studies also show that meditation helps keep the mind young and may reduce age-related memory loss for patients who are suffering from dementia.
Meditation Helps Curb Addiction
For those suffering from addiction, developing the mental discipline to curb addictive behaviors is a challenging endeavor. According to Julie Gagnon-Erickson, meditation can be used to develop this discipline so individuals can redirect their attention, enhance their willpower and control the emotions leading them toward those additive impulses.
Julie Gagnon-Erickson’s Concluding Thoughts
Meditation has the potential to influence the mind and body. It can be used as a positive tool to address internal conflict and deal with external problems. Those who regularly practice meditation are often better prepared to handle adversity and are able to redirect negative energy in difficult situations.
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